* Posts by Synonymous Howard

358 publicly visible posts • joined 7 Apr 2011


'Joan Is Awful' Black Mirror episode rebounds on Netflix

Synonymous Howard

Re: Black mirror: it's either genuine over-the-top woke-ness or parody

Careful now.

Apple Mac sales break records amid ex-86-odus to Arm-compatible M1 silicon

Synonymous Howard

Macbooks memory

M1 comes with 8 or 16GB RAM

M1 Pro comes with 16 or 32GB RAM

M1 Max comes with 32 or 64GB RAM

The real-world testing I have seen shows that the difference between 16 and 32GB is subtle and probably not worth the extra.

I would normally go for more RAM over disk space to reduce chance of swapping/thrashing but in this case I chose the later on the new MacBook Pro based on the testing I saw and I have not been disappointed. Video editing, compiling, massive spreadsheets, photo mangling all work a treat.

Also got 10% discount at a local dealer for Black Friday.

Facebook posts job ad for 10,000 'high-skilled' roles to 'build the metaverse' – and they'll all be based in the EU

Synonymous Howard

‘Better Than Life’ ?

We have some sad news about Facebook. It has returned to the internet after six-hour mega outage

Synonymous Howard

Re: Something Else

Any company that >only< has a facebook/insta/whatsapp presence does not get my money as my DNS blackholes all requests for those varied domains.

RIP Sir Clive Sinclair: British home computer trailblazer dies aged 81

Synonymous Howard

Re: Z88?

I still have the wonderful Z88 that I bought to type up my CS PhD on … I wrote a unix utility to send/receive files over the serial port to a Sun workstation, it is in the Z88 user group software library somewhere.

The Z88 was a great machine to just pull out and start typing on, A4 in size, about 15mm deep, with EPROM storage, AA batteries and a dead flesh keyboard (dust attractor!). A ‘cambridge topper’ was an absolute must to protect it though.

It meant I could work from anywhere in the early 90s … I still have an acoustic coupler that I have used with the Z88 to dial in to university systems from a pay phone on a busy street.

The Newton lives, kinda: Boffin turns Apple eMate 300 into Raspberry Pi laptop

Synonymous Howard

Hmm could be another pi project…

I have 2 eMates, one works, so the other could be reborn with one of my spare older Pies.

It will have to come after I’ve finished a Minitel terminal rebuild that I have underway. It got dropped by a courier and so all that survives is the 8x8 membrane chicklet keyboard and the plastic CRT frame 8-/

Oh and reusing a 1981 TRS-80 model II keyboard (has a builtin cpu that does keyscan to serial conversion) could act as a retro Pi-400 workalike case for another Pi.

Facebook finally finds something it thinks is truly objectionable and needs to be taken offline: Apple

Synonymous Howard

Re: I see a phone platform driven by Fachobus is on the horizon.

They tried before, admittedly nearly 10 years ago so maybe corporate memory might fail long enough for them to waste more money ...


Would probably be cheaper for FB to buy Samsung.

150,000 lost UK police records looking more like 400,000 as Home Office continues to blame 'human error'

Synonymous Howard


Much more detail was given in a Commons debate/statement on Monday....


Note that it was Kit Malthouse not Priti Patel that gave the statement.

Mind the airgap: Why nothing focuses the mind like a bit of tech antiquing

Synonymous Howard

Re: Cambridge Z88

I wrote up my CS PhD thesis on a Z88 back in the early 90s whilst sitting in the back garden and even wrote a serial driver for SunOS to let me upload the typed up LaTex to be able to render it 8-) It was bought from new and got pimped out a bit and still works along with the Rangerdisk floppy drive add-on. Lovely dead-flesh keyboard.

I actually wanted to buy a PSION MC400 but could not afford it back then ... got a lovely one years later, magic kit and sits alongside a Psion 7 netboot nicely. Still miss Psion, sniff.

Synonymous Howard

Re: At a loss

Retro kit is back big style which I put down to the Raspberry Pi effect ... in the early 2000s it was easy to pick up old kit for a few quid which now goes for hundreds of pounds. I've lost count of the amount of kit secreted around the house but it must run to at least 50 or 60 systems (most of them still functional).

I have a fondness for VT-style terminals .. I still kick myself for getting rid of a broken APL programming terminal (a beautiful cast-iron heavyweight in blue/grey) which I would now retrofit with Pi's and Arduinos etc. Nothing beats a 70s/80s clickkerty-clackkerty keyboard for text entry joy!

Health Sec Hancock says UK will use Apple-Google API for virus contact-tracing app after all (even though Apple were right rotters)

Synonymous Howard

Re: NHSX devs apparently superior to Google devs

I view COVID-19 just like ionising radiation ... keep as far as away from it as possible, for as long as possible. Oh and wash those hands.

Splunk to junk masters and slaves once a committee figures out replacements

Synonymous Howard

Re: Male and female connectors..

AbEnd perhaps.

And the connectors are obviously plug and socket.

UK finds itself almost alone with centralized virus contact-tracing app that probably won't work well, asks for your location, may be illegal

Synonymous Howard

Re: And what about the people ...

And because nobody knows where they are all are.

Go fourth and multi-Pi: Raspberry Pi 4 lands today with quad 1.5GHz Arm Cortex-A72 CPU cores, up to 4GB RAM...

Synonymous Howard

Re: victims of own success

Armbian Linux is very usable on the Orange Pi 3 as mine can testify even though it is currently marked as a "work in progress". The OPi 3 makes a rather fast firewall with native GigE, USB 3 .. the PCIe port is not supported under Linux because the "Allwinner H6 has a quirky PCIe controller".

I use Armbian on the various Orange Pi models I have deployed .. PC2, +2E, Zero and One

Why did I buy a gadget I know I'll never use?

Synonymous Howard

I had sprouts today .. wifey boils them perfectly and they taste lovely. In fact today's lunchtime meal was Quorn 'steak' pie with boiled potatoes, petit pois, broccoli, sprouts and veggie gravy. Lovely stuff.

And I've just made myself hungry thinking about it.

You can't find tech staff – wah, wah, wah. Start with your ridiculous job spec

Synonymous Howard

"dress like an adult too"

At that point I stopped reading .. and it had been going quite well until then.

I was employed for my lateral thinking, problem solving and communication abilities not my sartorial elegance.

Having worked in both academia and 'business' I found that the best people to work with were scruffy and/or odd/crazy and the worst people were clean shaven, sharp suited, forked-tongued MBA types.

How much for that Belkin cable? Margin of 1,992%?

Synonymous Howard

Some "unscrupulous" tech suppliers

I think the terms "some" and "unscrupulous" are redundant here ... remember in the free market the price is dictated by both buyer and seller ... just buy from the 'best value' (product of cost, quality and service) and be prepared to walk when the seller tries to pull a fast one.

Behold iOS 11, an entirely new computer platform from Apple

Synonymous Howard

Re: Object Oriented Computing

Bit like NeXTSTEP on the NeXT Cube then in 1987 (30 years) .. oh wait, who created that and then sold it to Apple and was welcomed back as CEO in 1997?

Its a natural progression by Apple who have been using NeXTSTEP originated technology since then in OSX and iOS.

Scotiabank internet whizzkids screw up their HTTPS security certs

Synonymous Howard

Re: It can happen

I think this is a non story. The expired cert is not even for the given website ... I believe this is a 3rd party webhosting error. A default config on the frontend load balancer / SSL reverse proxy probably.

The website just appears to be a marketing site rather than a banking service site and as such should not HTTPS to be configured.

I'd love to say this is the bank's fault and is a result of outsourcing but I can't see any direct evidence of that.

Europe to splash €120m on free WiFi for ~8,000 villages and cities

Synonymous Howard

Re: How much kit is possible?

It might pay for a few hours of an installation guy and his ladder I guess.

Leaked: The UK's secret blueprint with telcos for mass spying on internet, phones – and backdoors

Synonymous Howard

Re: Encryption is not made "illegal"

TCP runs over the top of IP ... IP (typically in the U.K.) runs over the top of MPLS etc ... so where the line gets drawn will be up to judges.

'Trash-80' escapes the dustbin of history with new TRS-80 emulator

Synonymous Howard

Re: Dragon 32

Yes a clone of the later Tandy Color (sic) computer ... 6809 cpu IIRC.

You know IoT security is bad when libertarians call for strict regulation

Synonymous Howard

He's no Ron Swanson

But the resemblance is definitely there.

Northumbria Uni fined £400K after boffin's bad math gives students a near-killer caffeine high

Synonymous Howard

Re: Numbers

Measure twice, cut once.

My fortnight eating Blighty's own human fart-powder

Synonymous Howard

Re: Four kilos in a fortnight?

Lacking in calories rather than vitamins/minerals I guess.

How to lose weight; eat less calories.

Synonymous Howard

Re: Hipsters discover SlimFast...

If someone has a headache, drink water, wait a bit and see if it goes away (as they were probably just dehydrated).

Synonymous Howard

Watching the loss of Louie always makes me well up 8-)

Synonymous Howard

Re: Where's the IT angle?

Yes the Elizabethans loved their Spanish Paps.

Privacy is theft! Dave Eggers' big-screen takedown of Google and Facebook emerges

Synonymous Howard

Re: Black Mirror

Or even the BBC's 2008 "The Last Enemy" which had Cumberbatch trying to escape the Total Information Awareness database.

But the first one I fondly remember watching was the "IT Thriller" in the eighties, Bird of Prey, with the late great Richard "uncle monty" Griffiths ... http://www.theregister.co.uk/2012/11/07/monitor_bird_of_prey_retrospective/

What’s the link between Brexit, cloud and open source?

Synonymous Howard

yawn .. survey was TL;DR

Mac malware lies in wait for YOU to start a vid sesh...

Synonymous Howard

Or by a user installing a free security / oversight tool 8-)

Lily Cole: You'd hate me more if Impossible.com were a success

Synonymous Howard

Re: how the hell are they losing THAT much money

Toss a coin .. AWS or Azure?

Synonymous Howard

Re: Not that bad...

I'd love UKgov (or anyone) to give me half a million because I would retire from paid work immediately and complete all those impossible things on my 'to do before I die' list.

Top digital Eurocrat issues non-denial about hyperlink non-tax

Synonymous Howard

Re: Democracy

Switzerland's Direct Democracy seems the closest to true democracy ... However any form of true democracy would surely implinged on everyone's rights due to the implicit suppression of minorities .. For are we all not in some form of minority at some point in life?

Funny story, this. UK.gov's 'open banking app revolution'. Security experts not a fan of it

Synonymous Howard

Re: I'm all for online banking...

You can make EASY MONEY by switching and taking advantage of savings offers (bank tarting).


First Direct pay £100 to switch (and they are very chatty in the customer service department and their mobile app on iOS can use TouchID).

Co-op pay £150 to switch (I've had an account with them for 20+ years)

Halifax pay £100 to switch

M&S pay '£100 M&S gift card' to switch (if you need a new suit, shirts, ties, ladies underwear)

If you don't want to switch then why not open a new account somewhere put a couple of direct debits on it and then after a month or so switch that account to one of the above and make some money .. rinse and repeat.

Also works for credit cards .. cash back on purchases and 0% interest for over a year (hint: put the money you would have used to pay off the credit card each month in to a regular savings account and earn up to 6% [firstdirect], 5% [nationwide])

TSB pay 5% on up to £100/month in transactions using contactless or apple pay .. money for old rope ... you even get 5% on up to £2000 when in balance .. just pay in £500 per month (standing order it around from another bank and then back again).

Remember money makes money but only if you make it work for you and not for the Banks.

Guilt by ASN: Compiler's bad memory bug could sting mobes, cell towers

Synonymous Howard

Re: That DER is not good

I CER what you did there.

Maplin Electronics demands cash with menaces

Synonymous Howard

Re: Cheeky bastards.

Try changing the headlight bulbs on a previous generation smart car .. unless you have very skinny and long arms you have to take the whole plastic front off.

Microsoft buys LinkedIn for the price of 36 Instagrams

Synonymous Howard

Re: The day I'll delete my account...

Better still .. don't delete it, instead change ALL your details to something weird to help poison their well.

And change your email address to a specially created yahoo or hotmail one of course. It won't stop linkedin spam to your original signup address but you can redirect that to /dev/null

Smartwatches: I hate to say ‘I told you so’. But I told you so.

Synonymous Howard

Re: Tiz the future!

You really want to look at the upcoming Pebble Time 2 which is on kickstarter at the moment (nearly $10m so far).

I have an original Pebble (B&W but a bit ugly/utilitarian) and a Pebble Time (colour, nice styling and a comfortable fit) and I've ordered a PT2 because of the bigger display and pulse-meter (as its nice to know if you are zombie)

I also have an Apple Watch 'look-a-like' which is, umm, just a red LED digital watch inside but definitely looks and feels like an AW .. fun for hipster baiting 8-)

One million patients have opted out of Care.data

Synonymous Howard

Re: NHS Digital

What? Your MP is a digital proctologist? At least we would know he has his finger on the problem.

Woz says wearables – even Apple Watch – aren't 'compelling'

Synonymous Howard

or even Trams

Synonymous Howard

Re: It'll all end in tears

Have you seen the latest Sodastream adverts? They are now being marketed as a way of making 'sparkling water' without the need to 'lug heavy bottles from the supermarket' .. hmm

Agree that specific kitchen gadgets are useless compared to a good set of knives and pans.

Symantec cloud portal goes titsup after database crash

Synonymous Howard


Their Managed PKI Service seems to have been alright though? .. however that is the tried and tested Verisign infrastructure.

This year's H-1B visa lottery jammed full in just six days

Synonymous Howard

I must be a category 41

4 as I have a CS PhD and 25+ years of techie experience but at times I feel like a 1 after being asked to 'fill in' when there are gaps in Sales, Helpdesk, Incident Management, Procurement etc.

I am, of course, of the age when Level 42 was the Chinese way.

Amazon ports Alexa voice assistant to Raspberry Pi

Synonymous Howard

Re: Amazon Echo

Just give it a feed from BBC Parliament

You say I mustn’t write down my password? Let me make a note of that

Synonymous Howard

Re: real dinosaurs remember acoustic couplers and 300 baud.

I still have the 300/75 acoustic coupler that I used with my Cambridge Z88 in the early nineties. I remember having to use it to connect back to some Unix systems I was managing whilst away and hanging around in BT phone boxes.